Thursday, August 21, 2014

Good Asian Games draw for Malaysia

NATIONAL chief coach Arul Selvaraj was all smiles yes terday as Malaysia received a favourable draw for the Asian  Games hockey in Incheon, South Korea, on Sept 19-Oct 4.
  Silver medallists Malaysia are drawn in Group A with South  Korea, Japan, Bangladesh and Singapore.
   Pakistan, the defending champions, are with arch-rivals  India, Sri Lanka, China and Oman in Group B.
    As for the women, Malaysia are in Group A with India,  China and Thailand. South Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan and  Hong Kong are in Group B.
   The Asian Games could be a turning point in Malaysian  hockey as not only will the gold medal take them into the  2016 Rio de Janeiro, but could also change Malaysian Hockey  Confederation (MHC) president’s mind from quitting the  body.
   Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah had announced  recently that he will quit the MHC after their Annual General  Meeting in November, unless the team wins gold in Korea.
   “I am happy with the grouping, and the team will take it as  a challenge to give their best and hopefully change Tengku  Abdullah’s decision to quit,” said Arul Selvaraj.
   And to do that, the team must trade in their 2010  Guangzhou Asiad silver to gold.
   The first step would be to finish top-two in Group A, and  that means Japan, Bangladesh and Singapore must be  beaten at all costs to enter the semis.
   And waiting for them in the cross-over would be either  India or Pakistan.
    But Arul and his men can’t take any team lightly: “We last  played Japan in the World League Semi-finals and it ended in  a draw and we needed to beat them in the penalty shoot-out  to finish fifth.
   “Paul Revington and I were the coaches then, and it is still  fresh in in mind. So we will not take any team lightly,  including Bangladesh and Singapore.”
   After finishing last in the World Cup without a single win or  draw, Malaysia went on to lose to Trinidad and Tobago 4-2 in  the Commonwealth Games.
   “I’m happy with the team’s progress (as he took over from  K. Dharmaraj recently) and the good news is that forward  Firhan Ashaari has recovered from an ankle injury and  everybody is giving their best in training.
   “As part of the build-up we will head to South Korea on Aug  27 for training as well as playing matches. I will name the  final squad of 16 after returning from the trip next month,”  said Arul Selvaraj.

Alagendra makes five Malaysian's wait..

FIVE Malaysian’s vying for positions in the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) will have to wait for another day, as acting president Tan Sri P. Alagendra refused to hand the nominations list even though entries closed on Wednesday.
   When contacted yesterday, Alagendra said there is no hurry to release the nominations: “Why should I release the nomination list today?
   “I will do it in the next few days,” was his curt reply.
   When pushed further, as five Malaysian’s were eagerly awaiting he said: “Ok, I will release it tomorrow (today).”
   Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah has been nominated for the president’s post but even after nominations closed, he is in the dark if there is a challenger or he has won unopposed.
   With the demise of AHF president Sultan Azlan Shah who had served from 1990, Tengku Abdullah stood to try and keep the throne in Malaysia.
    MHC senior vice president Nur Azmi Ahmad will stand for the vice-president’s post, while MHC vice presidents Manjit Majid Abdullah and AHF incumbents S. Shamala and Datuk Rahim Ariff will go for the council members post.
  For the record, Shamala received the second highest vote four years ago, while Rahim will be defending his seat.
   Incumbent secretary general Alagendra will vacate his post as the new AHF constitution only allows for those below the age of 70 to stand for elections.

Terengganu-Forces Div 2 final

TERENGGANU whitewashed Kelantan 8-2 to emerge tops in Division Two of the 52nd Razak Cup in Kuantan yesterday.
   They will now play Armed Forces in the final on Sunday. Forces beat Perlis 2-1 to finish runners-up in Division Two.
   Even though the score looks impressive, Terengganu almost faltered after taking a 2-0 lead as Kelantan charged back to draw level at 2-2 before losing steam and letting in six more goals.
   Terengganu were demoted after finishing last in Division One last season: “We are looking for a promotion into Division One again, and are here to win all matches.
   “Even though we beat Forces 7-1 in the pool match, I believe the final will not be as easy, but we have enough calibre players to challenge for the title and promotion,” said Terengganu coach Sarjit Singh.
   RESULTS: Division Two: Terengganu 8 Kelantan 2; Force 2 Perlis 1; Kedah x Police x.
   TODAY: Division One Semi-finals: Perak v Malacca (8pm, Pitch I); Pahang v Kuala Lumpur (8pm, Pitch II).

Hafizuddin steers Pahang

Hafizuddin Desa scored a brace to steer Pahang to a 6-2 win over Negri Sembilan in  Group A to seal a place in the Division One semi-finals of the Razak Cup in Kuantan yesterday.
The hosts finished runners-up in the group with two wins and a defeat. They lost 2-1 to defending champions Perak in the opening match before they bounced back to beat Selangor 3-1.
Pahang will play against Group B champions Kuala Lumpur in the semi-finals tomorrow. KL topped the group with a 3-1 win over Malacca.
The other semi-finals match is between Group A champions Perak against Malacca.
Hafizuddin was on target for Pahang in the 48th and 57th minutes.
Sallehin Ghani (21st),  Haziq Fawwaz Ramli (41st), Ismail Abu (44th) and Hairul Nizam Abdul Rani (70th) scored the other goals for Pahang.
G. Kavin Kartik (16th) and Zabad Rosly (53rd) scored for Negri.
Pahang coach Izwan Suhardi said he had to field reserve goalkeeper Amirul Yusuf in place of injured Safiuddin Sharom and the subsitute keeper never let him down.
"Amirul was in top form for making a number of brilliant saves. Defender M. Vizayan was also nursing a knee injury but we still ll qualified for the semi-finals," said Izwan.
Perak top Group A by come back from a goal down to hold Selangor to a 2-2 draw.

Division One
Group A: N. Sembilan 2 Pahang 6, Perak 2 Selangor 2
Group B: K. Lumpur 3 Malacca 1, Penang 7 Johor 3
Terengganu vs Kelantan (6pm, Pitch 1)
A. Force vs Perlis (6pm, Pitch 2)
Kedah vs Police (8pm, Pitch 1.